[Disclosure: AFN’s parent company, AgFunder, is an investor in CH4 Global.]
- US- and Australia-based CH4 Global has made the first commercial sale of its Asparagopsis seaweed-based product that reduces methane emissions of ruminant animals like cows.
- The initial sale is to Australian protein manufacturer and ingredients processor CirPro, which will use the product at its feedlots in Australia.
- CH4 hopes to eventually reach 10% of all cattle with its product; the company says the environmental benefits of doing so are greater than decommissioning 50 million fossil fuel cars.
Why it matters:
Agriculture is the primary source of the world’s methane emissions, with livestock emissions accounting for 32% of them, according to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). One route to mitigation is producing feed or feed additives that can reduce or eliminate methane emissions from animals’ digesting processes.
Asparagopsis seaweed — the key ingredient of CH4’s formulation — contains bromoform. In the bovine gut, bromoform disrupts the enzymes of gut microbes that live in the cow’s stomach and produce methane gas during digestion. Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, says Asparagopsis has shown to reduce cattle methane emissions by as much as 80% when incorporated into the animals’ feed. CH4 says its formulation can reduce such emissions by up to 90%.
CH4 Global cultivates and processes varieties of Asparagopsis bio-product to make feed formulations for beef and dairy cattle. Formulations for other ruminants, including sheep, goat, and deer, are in the works.
To start, protein manufacturer and meat processor CirPro is partnering with CH4 Global for the latter’s first commercial supply of the Asparagopsis-based supplement and will use the supplement across its feedlot partners in Australia. CH4 Global’s Australia and New Zealand operations will supply the product, formulated with Asparagopsis seaweed from both marine and tank cultivation.
In a statement, CH4 founder and CEO Steve Meller added that a major part of its long-term partnership strategy is working with local and indigenous communities to grow seaweed.
The CirPro milestone is part of CH4’s initial product focus on beef and dairy markets in Australia, New Zealand, and North America.
Over the next five years, CH4 plans to reach 150 million cattle, or 10% of the world’s total, across all six habitable continents. In 2024, the company will expand beyond North America, Australia, and New Zealand and move into the dairy sector.